Better than Chesney? Has Arsenal wunderkind finally been surpassed?

20 Sep

Brentford 5. Newcastle United, Birmingham, Huddersfield 6. QPR 14. Rotherham 20. Not the odds on winning September’s manager of the month award but, infact, the total goals conceded by the respective teams after 8 Championship games. And in the case of the Bees, one man has a huge part to play in that stat – goalkeeper Daniel Bentley.


Bentley – a model professional

When the 23 year old signed on a four year contract from Southend United in July 2016, nobody could imagine just how good a goalkeeper we had acquired. Instead, if we are being honest, most of the concern was about the rumoured (and subsequent) sale of David Button to Fulham. Yet already, and with the greatest of respect to the man who more than made this gloves his own, it is a case of David who?

Button was fantastic. No question. An agile and powerful shot stopper (albeit with the occasional tendency to don the toblerone boots), I was amongst those gutted when he left. Yet. Yet. Have some faith. Oh, what a replacement.

Quite simply, Bentley has that rare characteristic of exuding confidence. It is a confidence which transmits through the defence( where are those infamous dithers and suicidal back headers we’ve seen in the past?) and into the crowd. Harlee Dean and John Egan are building a rock solid partenrship, stopping the goals at one end whilst even grabbing a few between them at the other. Having a stronger midfield in front of them has helped, too, but it all flows from the back.

It was Bentley who secured us an additional two points at home to Nottingham Forest. With Britt Assombalonga clean through and the net beckoning, it had goal all over it as the game reached its denouement with the Bees hanging on at 1-0. But the visitors hadn’t reckoned on Bentley. What a save. What. A. Save !

On Saturday, it was Bentley who kept us in it as Preston can count themselves unlucky not to have taken a first half lead or, at the very least, levelled things up with the score siting at 1-0. Whilst Scott Hogan went on to grab the headlines, and understandably so, it was Bentley who put us in that position.

Pick any of our 8 games and you could highlight quality saves. I’m sure Mark Burridge has said this but Billy Reeves called it after that Forest game…


Bill makes an early call. And he’s not alone

And who am I to disagree. The player known as Chesney proved to be a stunning success when Andy Scott signed him on loan from Arsenal in November 2009. Whilst there was no chance of his joining full time (subsequently the 23 year old made the club and country jerseys his own for both the Gunners and Poland) his spell in TW8 was one that saw us consolidate our position in Division one after returning the season previously from the fourth tier.

Now chief scout (not a bad entry on the CV), as manager Scotty made the famous comment: “It has reached the stage where when he lets in a goal we wonder why he hasn’t saved it.”

Indeed, so impressive was he that the ‘keeper that he has had a permanent place in my ‘Best ever Brentford XI’ of recent time. That line up being:

Wojciech Szczesny, Kevin O’Connor, Terry Evans, Hermann Hreidarsson, Martin Grainger, Paul Evans, Adam Forshaw, Andy Sinton, Jay Tabb, Dean Holdsworth, Gary Blissett.

Milton Keynes Dons v Brentford

Chesney – the legend

Yet, just 8 games in, I’ve already been sufficiently blown away to make the first change to this team since The Last Word began. Chesney has lost his place and Dan picks up the gloves.

At the end of the day (Clive) I’m just the numpty on the terrace. Football management is as tough a task to master as putting up wallpaper (and trust me on that one, I can’t even get to a ladder without falling off) . Yet, as a supporter the terrace is potentially the best place to make the judgement call.

Unfettered by tactics and other considerations, we can see which players are having a good game. We can see which players are the game changers. We can see which players generate that aura of calm and confidence.Which players we’d worry about if they were missing from the team sheet.  We can see which players have the potential x factor – that something that sets the apart from mere mortals.

Dean Holdsworth had it. Forshaw, Sinton and Terry Evans  had it. Chesney had it. Now Daniel Bentley has it.

I may not have called things as early as the BBC man. Yet as was noted just yesterday, Billy Reeves knows a thing or two about broadcasting and so if he opines, we should sit up and take notice.

Who am I to disagree?


Nick Bruzon


10 Responses to “Better than Chesney? Has Arsenal wunderkind finally been surpassed?”

  1. Richard September 20, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    It must have been difficult decision to leave Judgy out of your best Bees X1 & I think Ryan Woods might come in if he keeps improving.
    I would have had Allan Mansley in before Andy Sinton. Scored some cracking goals amongst his 24 in 95 appearances, including a brilliant one against the then second tier Hull City in the league cup. ( Sinton 28 in 149). In those days the League Cup was shown a lot more respect than it is today & Hull had fielded a strong team.
    The crowd held it’s breath in expectation whenever he was on the ball. He would no doubt have gone to play at a higher level if not for a bad injury from which I don’t think he really recovered.

  2. Richard September 20, 2016 at 7:17 am #

    N.B. Fully agree Bently is something special.

  3. Lew Holmes September 20, 2016 at 7:25 am #

    Bentley looks like season of the summer already. Our two-headed DoF monster gets a lot of stick, but they deserve nothing but credit here: clearly saw the writing on the wall with Button and signed a more than able replacement. This guy is going to go far.

    • Lew Holmes September 20, 2016 at 7:33 am #

      Or even ‘signing of the season’. Shouldn’t comment this early in the morning!

  4. Nigel oates September 20, 2016 at 7:40 am #

    Yes ,I agree Bentley is a great keeper and making great saves thank god , whilst we enthuse over our great defence I am old school and think that goalkeepers are a teams last line of defence and if our defence is so good our goalkeeper shouldn’t have to make “great saves” all the time , he should be covered by his defence as much as possible !!!

    • nickbruzon September 20, 2016 at 8:00 am #

      There’s a lot of logi to what you say and I’ve asked similar questions. Yet, equally, confidence breeds confidence. We have a new look defence that is still awaiting a regular Left Back. How nice to know that the ‘keeper is potential ‘England’ material in the interim

  5. RebelBee September 20, 2016 at 8:21 am #

    Good piece again today. I’ve seen enough of Dan to go with him being the best GK I’ve seen at GP, he’s our player too which has to score heavily Vs Chesney. Button was very good for us and remains a decent championship keeper, but we’ve now got one that can go all the way if he sticks around and continues to develop. He shares the same confidence and determination that I see in Hogan, I wish it could be bottled and administered in doses to Romaine – that’s all he needs for his obvious talent to shine through.

    Huge credit to the DoF’s and recruitment team here, also Simon Royce who’s coaching makes these guys better. Generally I think the DoF’s are now getting props for some really good calls, yes there was some criticism over last summer’s intake, i’d say some of that was justified, everyone has upped their game now and perhaps the addition of very sensible guidance from DS is producing a winning formula.

    What we don’t need now are Bees fans speculating about players going in the next window, we’ve a few months to build something special and enjoy life. If we continue to do well I trust the club to handle the inevitable interest in our players in the right way – other than the AJ situation possibly, we’ve no need to let anyone go. odd how the media barely notice our existence, yet have to speculate about our stars moving on after a few good reports.

    We must be on the up as our friend from the “Real West London” hasn’t been back for a while.

  6. Mike Lane September 20, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    Last Season Button made more Championship saves than any other goalkeeper. This Season, Bentley is in second place in terms of saves. And spectacular many of them were. Thank goodness we have him but as someone noted above, does it leave a question mark over the defence. Or maybe, it means that the team in general is confident about the goalkeeper and can afford to move up the field and even score goals (Egan, Dean).

  7. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) September 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    I think its a fair shout. Bentley Brentford’s greatest ever keeper. I said the other day that with Bentley in goal you are surprised if the ball beats him. Apologies to Andy Scott, I hadnt realise I had quoted him. Having a superb keeper helps the defence no end, and we have a great defence this season, and with outstanding strength in depth too.

    So we all pretty much agree, Bentley has now surpassed Chesney as Brentford’s ever keeper.

    So here’s another question.

    Is there currently a better English keeper than Bentley?

  8. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) September 20, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    Hit the ‘post’ button too early! A lot giving credit to the DoF’s for this signing, but I actually question how much involvement they had.

    I drew up a list of 10 names at the end of last season of players Id like to see us interested in. Not only was Bentley on that list, but also Sawyers, Henry & Egan. Does that mean I should be a DoF, of course not. It just meant that I watched extended highlights of League 1 & 2 games on BeesPlayer and could see their quality. Lets also not forget Smith & O’Kelly would have had an excellent knowledge of the lower leagues, also Andy Scott, and Simon Royce knows his keepers and spent 7 years himself as the custodian at Roots Hall. By the way other players I noted were Watkins, Hourihane, Taylor, Samuelsen, Dack & Devitt

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